Pioneer cover

From the press release: From the moment he is handed a possibility of making the first alien contact, Saunders Maxwell decides he will do it, even if doing so takes him through hell and back.

Unfortunately, that is exactly where that journey takes him.

The vision that Zimmerman paints of vibrant human colonies on the Moon, Mars, the asteroids, and beyond, indomitably fighting the harsh lifeless environment of space to build new societies, captures perfectly the emerging space race we see today.

He also captures in Pioneer the heart of the human spirit, willing to push forward no matter the odds, no matter the cost. It is that spirit that will make the exploration of the heavens possible, forever, into the never-ending future.

Available everywhere for $3.99 (before discount) at amazon, Barnes & Noble, all ebook vendors, or direct from the ebook publisher, ebookit. And if you buy it from ebookit you don't support the big tech companies and I get a bigger cut much sooner.

Some results from SpaceX’s Dragon launchpad abort test

SpaceX has revealed some of the results from their Dragon launchpad abort test in May, which may explain why they have delayed the launch abort test until next year.

SpaceX engineers are evaluating the results of the May 6 pad abort test, in which the prototype Crew Dragon rocketed away from Cape Canaveral’s Complex 40 launch pad, reached an altitude of nearly one mile, and splashed down under parachutes just offshore in the Atlantic Ocean. Officials said data from the test showed a slight underperformance of the SuperDraco jetpack, and capsule did not reach the top speed and altitude targeted by engineers. But the test was successful by NASA’s standards, and the space agency awarded SpaceX a $30 million milestone payment after data reviews. [emphasis mine]

The article says that the delay is to make sure they are doing a launch abort test with the capsule design they intend to use, rather than an earlier design. I wonder if they also have decided they need more time to tweak their designs after this first test, and thus don’t want to use the capsule they had original planned to use since it has an older design.

Instead, the plan is to use the actual capsule after it has flown to ISS in their unmanned demo test flight of the manned capsule. They will not only be using their in-flight design for the test, this will give them extra time to study the results from the first test and revise the SuperDraco engines.


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